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Big Inauguration-Day event planned for Oakland

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson is coordinating the planning for a big Inauguration Day bash, most likely at the Oracle Arena, so a large East Bay crowd can gather to watch Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

“We’re almost sure we’re going to have the contract for the arena that day,” Carson told me a few minutes ago, just hours after about 25 representatives from various faith congregations, community groups and local agencies had gathered for their first meeting to plan the event. “Everybody is saying, ‘What can I do to help?’”

They’re also planning a series of other community events in the 10 days leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration, including an event Sunday, Jan. 11 at Oakland’s new Cathedral of Christ the Light near Lake Merritt, and another on Sunday, Jan. 18 at Beebe Memorial Cathedral on Telegraph Avenue. Other institutions have set tentative dates as well.

“We know that we are in the middle of… very volatile times in the community, and even with a new administration, it’s going to be difficult locally for us for years to come. This gives us an opportunity to find new friends, to recommit to communicating across those lines to see how we can leverage our resources and infrastructure to help people,” Carson said today. “Barack’s campaign on some level was kind of indicating we as a country need to do that.”

Tickets for Oracle Arena event – likely to start pretty darned early on Tuesday, Jan. 20, as the president is traditionally sworn in at noon, meaning 9 a.m. PST – might cost a nominal fee, if only to control their dissemination, Carson said; as many as 17,000 people might fit into the arena for such an event.

That’s all we know for now; I’ll provide more details as they become available.

Carson, like Rep. Barbara Lee and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, is a protégé and former aide to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums during Dellums’ Congressional tenure. Swanson and Dellums had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, while Lee and Carson backed Obama; all of them supported Obama in this month’s general election.